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Data is music: how Spotify uses data to build a more connected cultural landscape

October 21, 2021By
Greg Malpass and Rochelle Sanchirico during a conversation about Spotify

Data and AI can drive massive behavioral and societal change, and when you fuse this with consumer listening habits, magic can happen by connecting people to music that resonates. During a recent conversation between our Founder and CEO, Greg Malpass, and Global Director of SMB Marketing, Rochelle Sanchirico, they discuss the intersection of data and music, and how data can improve and connect experiences to what matters.

Spotify stats: finding their place in the market

When Spotify launched in 2008, it truly took the music streaming world by storm. Transforming the space to provide listeners with an alternative way to listen to our favourite tracks. Anyone remember Napster? We do. And Global Director of SMB Marketing, Rochelle Sanchirico, explained Spotify was founded partially as a reaction to the Napster controversial era. The outcome? Spotify found its sweet spot—a position that serves the middle space between curation and creation and legitimizes the “freemium” model. Basic functions are totally free, like playing music, and the option to upgrade to Spotify Premium are at a cost. Regardless, if you have a Premium account or not, Spotify will:

  • Give data-driven recommendations based on your listening habits
  • Build collections of music and podcasts from the data captured of every song and podcast you play
  • One of our favourites—the annual Spotify Wrapped, a story of your year of listening pulled from your personalized data report of your listening trends

Today, with 365 million monthly active users and 210 million users being ad-supported, Spotify has dominated the audio streaming subscription services world. With their large ad-supported user base, they’re able to connect their advertisers with a variety of listeners across many different demographics, interests, and habits—which filters their user data for more effective targeting.

Unifying users and creators with data

As Spotify finds its sweet spot between users and creators, they’ve also found a way to better support creators and give them an opportunity to connect with a much wider audience. Because of their curation of playlists, whether it be by genre, activity, or mood, Spotify has created a formula to expose artists and creators consistently to new listeners. Additionally, they’ve been able to find products that are not interruptive to the user experience, but rather in context with what they’re doing to make the advertiser resonate with the listener. For example, Spotify will help you deliver your message at the exact moment people are primed to hear it. Their targeting capabilities enable you to reach listeners across locations, devices, moments, and formats.

Spotify has allowed listeners to gain access to an almost unlimited library of music. Greg mentions the impact of how music unifies communities. Whether it be a commonality between grocery shoppers listening to the song playing in the store or a group of friends hearing a song that reminds them of memory they had together years ago or even a new up and coming artist that gets the whole group grooving, it’s a commonality that reminds you you’re apart of a community.

So how can you and your organization tap into this? Well, what we can take away from this example is that we as consumers of products and users of tech platforms want to find a community. Whether online or in-person, we want to find like-minded people with similar interests. In order to understand your customer, you’ll need a platform—like Salesforce—to gain a 360-degree view of your customers and their user data. This will help your organization create a more personalized and engaging experience and ultimately create a community to connect creators and users with their interests and needs.

Improve and connect experiences with data

With Salesforce as Spotify’s main hub for sales activation and marketing performance, it’s their way of understanding how campaigns resonate with customers. While running their CRM efforts, Spotify uses Salesforce to interact with their customer base throughout their marketing and sales cycle with customers. Greg highlights how impressive it is to manage a large amount of data—coming from 365 million users and millions of content creators—where you’re trying to make a connection with people, and Spotify does this successfully.

I would encourage people at all levels of the organization to understand how your salesforce instance is set up so that you can do better reporting...it can be such a powerful tool to help you answer business questions.Rochelle Sanchirico

In the same vein, Rochelle mentions the shift to “moments”, so by taking a moment in time and relating music to someone's experience. Let’s take searching the type of music one might relate to an activity for example, like mowing the lawn or taking a shower. It’s brilliant to see what users have curated to what they think correlates with those moments. With the considerable amount of user data Spotify has—pulling from information that relates to experiences on their platform—they’re able to gather insightful data for advertisers to reach the right audience at the right moment in time.

Two pieces of advice from Rochelle to get the best results from your data:

  1. Understand how your Salesforce instance is set up to better report and access the right reporting within Salesforce
  2. When approaching a new project, know the extent of the data that’s going to need to be captured to ensure that’s all represented in the way you’re using Salesforce for that campaign

What’s next for Spotify

As we all wait in anticipation for our personalized Spotify wrapped at the end of 2021, Spotify is looking beyond to the years to come. At the forefront of their plans, it’s to take on a major decrease in emissions. With sustainability at the forefront for many businesses, this mandate is embedded into Spotify’s mission. In their 2019 Sustainability and Social Impact Report includes their commitment to practices around energy use, travel offsetting, minimizing waste, and more.

Sustainability Cloud

Learn more about how Sustainability Cloud can help your organization track and reduce your carbon footprint.

They’re also leveraging their platform and creating Spotify original content to bring light to initiatives like sustainability. With all the data they’re able to collect from user listening habits, don’t be shocked if you start to hear or see ads suggesting some Spotify original content. Just know this has been personalized for you and you’re a part of a community with similar interests. It’s what makes the user experience so brilliant on the Spotify platform.

Watch our Dreamforce Distilled session to watch the full conversation between our Founder and CEO, Greg Malpass, and Global Director of SMB Marketing, Rochelle Sanchirico.

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